Pre­par­ing per­fect poin­set­tias

Red, white avail­able at lo­cal nurs­ery, but also blue, orange, polka dot

The Compass - - NEWS - BY ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK TC ME­DIA The Tele­gram

Jeannette Putt and her hus­band, Wayne Putt, check the fur­nace for their green­houses reg­u­larly this time of year, at the Rise and Shine Nurs­ery in Goulds.

Af­ter all, the hol­i­day best­sellers — trop­i­cal plants — need to stay warm.

She es­ti­mates about 30,000 poin­set­tia plugs were put into soil at the nurs­ery at the end of July. And even with a 10-inch planter tak­ing sev­eral in a sin­gle con­tainer, it rep­re­sents many thou­sands of potted adult plants the whole­saler will ul­ti­mately pro­vide to lo­cal re­tail­ers, and sell through an on-site shop.

Christ­mas roses and the nurs­ery’s own “Grinch trees” are do­ing well, but there’s no deny­ing the poin­set­tias re­main in great­est de­mand as both a hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tion and, for some, a house­hold tra­di­tion.

Care for the plants, to see them last well past Old Christ­mas Day, is pretty straight­for­ward, Putt said, but the nurs­ery staff still is­sue one tip to any­one buy­ing.

“They don’t re­al­ize that they can’t leave them in their car. Be­cause peo­ple will pick them up and say oh, I’m just go­ing to run to the Wal-Mart, or I’m just go­ing to run to Bid­goods, just run­ning in for what­ever, but they can’t. They have to be taken home im­me­di­ately. That’s why the de­liv­ery truck goes right to the doors,” she said. “They don’t like cold.”

The poin­set­tia plant is na­tive to Mex­ico and Cen­tral Amer­ica. It comes in many dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties and the Putts grow them in their nat­u­ral reds, whites, and pinks. How­ever, the nurs­ery also of­fers blue-coloured poin­set­tia plants, orange-coloured plants, even multi-coloured poin­set­tias they call “Cel­e­bra­tion” or “New Years” poin­set­tias.

The un­usual colours are achieved by hand-paint­ing the plants with a florist colour­ing, in the nurs­ery’s work­shop.

Some of the more colour­ful plants were handed up into a de­liv­ery truck and sent on their way. “Every­body wants some­thing dif­fer­ent,” she said, adding she has set one aside for her fam­ily home.

Dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, she said, the Putts will be work­ing seven days a week.

“We’ll fin­ish Christ­mas Eve and then we’ll take Jan­uary off,” Jeannette Putt said, “but they usu­ally start seed­ing again in Fe­bru­ary.”

And come July, it will be time to start get­ting ready for the next hol­i­day sea­son.

They have to be taken home im­me­di­ately. That’s why the de­liv­ery truck goes right to the doors. They don’t like cold. Jeannette Putt

PHOTOS BY ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK/TC ME­DIA

One of the green­houses at the Rise and Shine Nurs­ery in Goulds filled with poin­set­tias in the lead-up to the 2016 hol­i­day sea­son. Need­less to say nurs­eries like this one speak poin­set­tia — a lot — at this time of year.

Randy English takes on some coloured poin­set­tias for de­liv­ery from Rise and Shine Nurs­ery co-owner Jeannette Putt. The Goulds nurs­ery is a whole­saler, pro­vid­ing poin­set­tias to lo­cal re­tail out­lets, as well as sell­ing them on site.

I’ll have a blue, blue, blue poin­set­tia.

Coloured poin­set­tias in the Rise and Shine work­shop. The flow­ers are hand­painted with a paint de­signed specif­i­cally to not kill the flower.

Pink poin­set­tias.

Jeannette Putt shows off a few of the re­main­ing “Grinch” trees, a pop­u­lar cre­ation for the nurs­ery this hol­i­day sea­son.

White poin­set­tias.

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